Exploring Edinburgh

As a long-term Harry Potter nerd and proud Hufflepuff, a trip to Edinburgh is always an exciting prospect.

My parents are currently visiting the UK from New Zealand, so we took the opportunity to spend time with the Scottish side of our family and explore one of my favourite cities.

Of course, my Grandma came along too. We couldn’t leave her behind!

We arrived in Edinburgh to the most delicious homemade lentil soup – a perfect meal after a long journey.

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I just adore the Scottish side of my family. They’re so kind, welcoming and warm – plus, I could listen to their accents all day!

We stayed at the Mapmakers Townhouse, a beautiful three-story home steeped in history. It was once part of the offices for the Bartholomew Mapmakers firm, founded in 1911 and famous for producing (you guessed it!) world-renowned maps.

If you’re looking for accommodation in Edinburgh, I highly recommend it!

Our first morning began with a hike up Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano with the most beautiful views of the city. It’s a very special place for my Dad who has been climbing it since he was a child, so I always make sure to continue the tradition with him.

Just look at that view.

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My parents have an old photograph of us at Arthur’s Seat, back when I was confined to toddler reins. We may have to recreate it on our next trip!

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The climb is fairly steep and tiring, but the Scottish countryside can’t be beaten. Small patches of purple heather are sprinkled across the hills and valleys, and the dust turns a deep burgundy colour as you get closer to the top.

At the foot of Arthur’s Seat is the Sheep Heid Inn, a pub that has been around since 1360. It’s a family tradition to get our photograph taken outside – my Grandad did it, my Dad did it and of course I made sure to do it too!

We always stop there for a drink once we reach the bottom, and I invariably keep an eye out for ghostly figures – it’s rumoured that the pub is haunted by a little girl along with a former landlord.

So far, no sightings!

If you read my previous blog post, you’ll know that I’ve recently developed an obsession with British castles. I’ve visited Edinburgh Castle twice in the past, and this time I appreciated the history and significance of this beautiful fortification even more.

The crowds of tourists can make it difficult to get a good view of the castle, so we braved the rain and ventured off the beaten path in order to snap the perfect photograph from a distance.

As you can see, we succeeded!

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It’s easy to fall in love with Edinburgh’s beautiful cobbled streets. They may not be so pleasant to drive over, but they give the city an old-fashioned charm that simply can’t be replicated.

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Every time I visit Edinburgh, I never fail to check out the statue of Greyfriars Bobby. He was a little Skye terrier who spent 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he himself passed away in 1872.

Before his death, the locals would take care of Bobby and even bought him a collar and a license to prevent him from being put down.

It’s said that rubbing his nose will bring you good luck, and his little stone nose is worn and shiny after being rubbed thousands of times!

This sweet little pup is celebrated throughout Edinburgh for his unwavering loyalty and love towards his owner, and visiting his statue always makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

My parents wanted to check out the National Museum of Scotland, so I took the opportunity to visit Greyfriars Kirkyard. I’ve visited once before – on a ghost tour! – but I’ve never seen it in the daytime.

I made sure to pay a visit to little Greyfriars Bobby’s grave, and felt emotional when I read the inscription on his headstone: ‘Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all.’

There was a pile of sticks in front of his grave, left by well-wishers who have been touched by his story. He would be so proud of his huge stick collection!

I also wanted to visit Thomas Riddell’s grave, the inspiration for the famous Tom Riddle of Harry Potter lore. It was a little tricky to find, but with the help of an online guide I eventually stumbled across it.

The cemetery had a gothic and moody vibe, which I loved. I could have stayed there all day, reading the inscriptions of gravestones that are over 200 years old!

I feel a little odd about posting photographs of people’s graves, so here are some beautiful houses that overlook the graveyard instead!

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There are stores selling Harry Potter merchandise dotted all around Edinburgh. I ducked into the Museum of Context on Victoria Street, which in my opinion is the best place for Hogwarts-themed souvenirs as well as witchy trinkets in general.

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I was very tempted by this Hufflepuff edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but somehow I managed to resist!

On our last night we had dinner at the Whiski Rooms, a lovely restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh that my Dad and I discovered five years ago. They do the best haggis, neeps and tatties – of course, I opted for the vegetarian haggis!

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If you aren’t familiar with Scottish terms, neeps refers to boiled and mashed turnips while tatties is a common name for mashed potatoes.

Here I am on our last night, all ready to go out for dinner. I felt a little witchy with my outfit choice!

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It was a short but sweet visit to Scotland’s capital, and I really appreciated spending time with my parents and Grandma. I don’t get to see them as often as I like, so I try to make the most of every opportunity.

I’m writing this in the car on the way home to London (yes, we drove – are we crazy?) and I already can’t wait to go back.

I hear Edinburgh is beautiful in the autumn…

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